How good is the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AIS lens?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by RattyMouse, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Any fans of this lens? How well does it perform? Excellent or merely good?
     
  2. KennyMark

    KennyMark Member

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    Excellent. My normal Nikon lens. If I take only one with me, this is it. This will be the last piece of glass that I let go of.
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    If you look at MTF and lens reviews it is not that good but it is a very good lens to use and I will not let mine go. If you are thinking about getting one then do it and you won't be disappointed.
     
  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Absolutely awesome.

    It has it's flaws (barrel distortion) but it's charm well outweighs that. I have one pretty much welded to my F, albeit its the original Nikkor-N Auto 9-bladed version (which is about 40 years old now). Various shots on my Flickr stream with it.

    [​IMG]
    Antha by kediwah, Neopan 1600, XTOL 1+1
     
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  5. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    it's very good, better than many, though on my shortlist of 5 standard walkaround lenses--in order of preference, 28/2, 50/1.2, 35/2-O.C, 50/1.8 longnose, 35/1.4--it has to be no. 5 due to totally uncontrollable flare and ghosting; truly great as a "special effects" lens for artsy environmental portraits for this reason
     
  6. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    " uncontrollable flare and ghosting"
    Sounds like it needs a good cleaning, and/or use of a hood. All my versions do not have uncontrollable flare and ghosting; some yes but quite controllable.
    In all seriousness, a truly great Nikkor. I've extensively used all versions and can assure you, if you can get the N or N.C version get it. It can yellow from the radioactive decay but that can either be overlooked or bleached out. My without a doubt irreplaceable lens. The Ais version has a slightly different optical formula, no radioactive elements so it doesn't yellow but the images look thinner and harder, (maybe a bit more flarey and ghosty too?) in comparison to the N and N.C (and early K versions if you want to be precise) where it seems the image is fuller and more gentle with sharpness. Subtle differences but it's there.
     
  7. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yes, first thing I did with my N was to put it rear-element facing against a black light for about 1-2 weeks. Greatly diminished the ionization to a light tea color, whereas before it was a bit 'bronze'. I prefer the older all metal lenses in general. Never had any significant issues with flare or ghosting with this lens, ever.
     
  8. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    no :laugh:

    on it; no change with the sun in frame :confused:
     
  9. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Can you direct me to an image you've shot with the flare? Also which version? Ais or the N. Thanks
     
  10. OldBodyOldSoul

    OldBodyOldSoul Member

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    I have said this before and I will say it again: The 35/1.4 Nikkor is the best lens ever made in the history of universe, and then some. The fact that people live in different universes affects this statement somewhat, but hey, their universes suck.

    In all seriousness, people either love it or hate it so you have to test it for yourself. It's not for everyone, that is for sure.
     
  11. Lamar

    Lamar Member

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    I've had my 35mm f1/4 for about 5 months now. It's the Nikkor-N version and had a bit of yellow due to the thorium decay but I was able to reduce the effect with a UV light. I am very happy with it and it is pretty much my standard lens now. It loses a good bit of contrast wide open and it's lost about a half stop of transmission due to yellowing but it is probably my single favorite lens just due to the character of the shots. Here are a few galleries with shots using the lens:

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Future-Country-Music-Stars-in/30909091_cfCzBQ#!i=2693549660&k=BrKcr4D

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Submarines-and-Martial-Arts/31094886_mcQjcz#!i=2689873981&k=qJ4W9Rn

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Vidalia-Airshow-2013-w-35mm/29110633_zCCfX9#!i=2478293570&k=nhJhmKf

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/35mm-f14-Nikkor-N-Auto-Ektar/28969886_ncRTf5#!i=2463139826&k=VBTssCW

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Portra-Portraits-with-35mm-F14/29110833_76ZxtS#!i=2478311057&k=S28vL9p
     
  12. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Member

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    Thanks everyone!
     
  13. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I liked the pictures it made but didn't like it's size and weight. That tells you more about me than the lens, I think, but if you like travelling light perhaps try one in a shop if possible.
     
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  15. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It's a very good lens, but I didn't find it enough better than the 35/2 Nikkor-O to make it worth spending the extra cash and toting the extra weight. The one I used was an early one like Clayne's, the later MC versions (marked "Nikkor N-C" and later) are better flare-wise.
     
  16. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Has its flaws mainly it is heavy! And if you are going to use it most of the time at 5.6 or f8, or f11 don't bother with it.
    I made hundreds of published images with one. Easy to focus. I hate focusing f2.8 wides.
    Just glanced up at a Cibachrome and a nice B+W made (with one) decades ago hanging on my wall right now.
    Purdue University provided me with one back in the 1990's.
     
  17. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Still awaiting frames of uncontrollable flare and ghosting.
     
  18. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Good lens, I had one for a little while. I had the ais version, the version right before the latest model, which I think is still being made by Nikon today. I just don't use the 35mm focal length too much. On my nikons I prefer my 28mm f2. Nice solid lenses all around, but it's really amazing to compare it to something like the CV 35mm 1.4 which is just tiny and just as sharp or even sharper. Still kinda blows my mind when you have them side by side.
     
  19. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I am not going to dig out negatives,,, but I do recall that over-exosed/ over ratio background would reduce contrast of what was exposed correctly.

    Nikon, Leica, Canon, super aperture lenses all have these issues. It has been spoken of long before the internet, trust us on this.
     
  20. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    One is built for and SLR the other not... it doesn't have to "act like a 35mm" with the elements clearing a mirror.


    see quoted below... sorry.
     
  21. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    One is built for and SLR the other not... it doesn't have to "act like a 35mm" with the elements clearing a mirror.


    Sorry for other posting without the quote.
     
  22. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The N and NC versions are both multicoated. The C, atleast for this lens, is purely marketing. It's deadly obvious by just looking at the deep magenta reflection thrown off the N version that its the same multicoating as the NC and probably just about the same as the AIS.

    I don't know what you guys are talking about weight wise. The lens isn't significantly heavier than any other AIS lens, although it is of course heavier on the scale. We're talking probably 200g heavier here which is nothing compared to the size/weight of various autofocus lenses people are using these days.

    This lens also does not have uncontrollable flare and ghosting. It's a multicoated lens just like any other modern lens design, relatively unchanged throughout the years (aside from the switch away from thorium elements), and isn't particularly known for being a problem child lens. It's only real issue is barrel distortion.
     
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  23. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Sure buddy; checks in the mail. Sounds to me like you're just continuing the internet tradition of repeating 'truths'. Until you can show us all what "uncontrollable flare and ghosting" and this "over-exosed/ over ratio background would reduce contrast of what was exposed correctly" from your copy (which you don't say Again which version yes it matters) then it I refer to my original post: you need a good cleaning.
    In fact, I'll be shooting today with this lens in the bright hot Hawaiian sunshine and I'll post some examples on my blog. I'll keep you posted.
     
  24. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I loved it at F2 on down but I had a hard time with it at 1.4 either due to focus or it being somewhat soft or both. I now have the 35mm 1.4G and that lens flat out blows it away, it's on par with my former 35mm 1.4 love, the Leica 35mm 1.4 Aspheric. Too bad the G version is such a big lens, I feel like I could fit the AIS version inside it...

    In my experience, I buy 1.4 lenses to shoot them at 1.4 and I could rarely do that with any degree of satisfaction with the 35mm 1.4 AIS. I even find it easier to hit focus manually with the G than the AIS, it's that sharp wide open.
     
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  25. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I didn't know that.

    As I said, the dealbreaker for me was weight and cost. One of the reasons I stick to the smaller slower lenses is to be able to carry what I want, sometimes space is as important as weight. If it's 200g heavier and significantly bulkier, that's another lens I won't be carrying. As for the autofocus zoom thingies people tote around, I wouldn't waste my time and effort.:wink:
     
  26. KennyMark

    KennyMark Member

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    This from my AIS version a couple of minutes ago. Note: these were shot on a D7000, I would have shot on a full-frame but don't have one and don't have time to soup a roll and scan before uploading right now. Beat me up if you want.

    Lens flare (first three sun in frame, next two, sun out of frame)

    3514test-1.jpg 3514test-2.jpg 3514test-3.jpg 3514test-4.jpg 3514test-5.jpg